Oriol Servia: Everyone itching to “send a message” at IndyCar Open Test

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Oriol Servia may only be a part-time driver for the time being with Rahal Letterman Lanigan, but the Spaniard is like every other Verizon IndyCar Series competitor at this point – beyond ready to get in the car and go racing.

The season officially starts March 30 in St. Petersburg, Florida but begins in earnest tomorrow with a two-day Open Test session at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, Alabama.

And the man that some call the “Ghost Driver” believes that everyone in the paddock is set to show that they’ll be the one to beat in 2014.

“You could think that some would hide a bit of their true poten­tial and only show it in St. Pete, but I can assure you that is not the way it works,” the open-wheel veteran said in an RLL release.

“For some reason we all feel – drivers and teams - that it is the oppor­tu­nity to send a message to the rest of the paddock and everybody’s message wants to be the same: ‘Hey, this year you better count me as the refer­ence!’ Only one driver will be able to send that message at the end of the test.”

Servia is set to run at least four races of the 2014 championship with RLL – Long Beach, Barber, the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis 500 – alongside the team’s full-time driver, Graham Rahal.

However, the Barber open test will be his first time in an IndyCar since competing for Panther Racing in last year’s season finale at Auto Club Speedway.

The good news is that Servia can lean on Rahal a bit if necessary, as the new face of the National Guard recently logged more than 100 laps at Sebring on an older version of Honda’s new twin-turbo engine. For the Barber test, they’ll each have the latest version of the Honda twin turbo to work with.

Still, Servia acknowledges that things won’t be easy for him at Barber, one of the toughest tracks in all of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“If you are nothing else than your greatest, the track won’t give you a ‘free pass’ and it will show,” he said about the beautiful but challenging circuit. “It is very demanding and that is a big part of its charm. What is great about it too is that with some of the fast and blind corners, the fans can appre­ciate the level of commit­ment it takes from the drivers.

“All and all, it will defi­nitely be a great test to get the winter rust off.”

IndyCar at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.


IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:53 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis